I finished Model-Driven Software Engineering in Practice, and it was clear that MDSE will give a lot of definition to my modeling approach, though it also turned out to be relevant to my current, non-modeling work, since my ebook work involves transforming XML from one format into another, and MDSE involves transforming models into other models or into code. I’ll have a little delay on any actual software modeling, though I’ll probably dabble immediately anyway, but sometime early next year I’ll reintroduce myself to Eclipse and try out the Eclipse Modeling Framework, which might mean I’ll finally have to learn Java.
Some graphic facilitation books I ordered came in the mail, so I bought some related ebooks on my list and paused other reading to start on my new collection: Visual Meetings by David Sibbet, Visual Thinking by Nancy Margulies and Christine Valenza, The Idea Shapers by Brandy Agerbeck, and Presto Sketching by Ben Crothers. Visual Meetings is on Kindle, so I listened to that for a general introduction to graphic facilitation, though it’s mainly written for non-graphic-facilitator business people who run meetings. The next two books go into more detail about certain aspects of the practice–symbolism for Visual Thinking and diagram types for Idea Shapers–and they’re print books, so reading through them will take longer. Presto Sketching is another angle on the subject from someone in the tech industry, and I’ll listen to it after I get through my spooky October books.
I’m still working on Munzner, and I got some of my thoughts typed out. I probably won’t get through as much of the book as I’d planned by the end of the month, but I don’t think that’s a real problem.
Now that I’ve finished Visual Meetings, I’m back to Gemma Files’ Experimental Film. I’ll finish that this week.
After that will be another long book of literary criticism, S. T. Joshi’s Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural Fiction.
Last winter I found out that a reliable way to set my mood is to listen to soundscapes, which on YouTube are called ambiences, and they work especially well when I pair them with the right music, so to make my October more eerie, I’ve been listening to some Halloween soundscapes. One of them spun out into its own little project, where I made a long playlist of ghostly music you might hear while spending the night in a haunted mansion (minor key piano, organ, harpsichord, and solo singing; piano rags, calliope, and music box). If you would like a spooky backdrop to your day, play this YouTube playlist of ambiences (arranged in order of increasing scariness, starting with five that are barely even supernatural) while playing this Spotify playlist on shuffle, and put the music on a low volume so it sounds like it’s coming from some other room in the house. I kinda want to learn how to make these ambience videos.
Later I’ll have a non-spooky autumn ambience playlist for you. I used to not like fall, because (1) I didn’t like warm colors, and (2) in Dallas, where I grew up, fall is boring and brown, but the history of my tastes is that they slowly expand over time, sometimes by circuitous connections, and a few years ago it seems the attention I paid to Surrealism while deciding on my old apartments decorating theme opened me up to the redder side of the spectrum and various aesthetics that tend to use it. I also tend to slowly absorb other people’s tastes, and this year it was apparently the right time for me to catch my Twitter feed’s (weird) enthusiasm for fall, because in striking contrast with every other year, when I walk out my door and see this, I feel strangely cozy despite the air’s mild chill.
Last week Fisher-Price solved several childhood mysteries for me, starting with the question of why I think of particular letters (and I think, by extension, words) as having particular colors, which led to a Google image search for my suspected answer–a rainbow-colored alphabet magnet set of unknown origin that we had when I was a kid–which led me to this article that confirmed my suspicions, let me know I wasn’t the only one, and identified Fisher-Price as the culprit.
Jumping off of that revelation, I investigated another long-time mystery, the identity of the Treasure Island recording I constantly listened to, now with the hypothesis that it too was a Fisher-Price product, and what did I find but a Treasure Island tape by this very company! While (fruitlessly) searching for an audio sample to tell me if this was the one, I found this bootleg recording that let me identify another of their tapes I had, George Washington from their Spellbinder Tapes series.
Childhood mysteries can run, but they can’t hide–forever, anyway.
With taking a break from stress after my intense summer and getting wrapped up in data visualization and graphic facilitation, I’ve let some practical matters pile up, and the pile must be on my back because it’s weighing down my mood a bit. This week I’ll clear some of that out.